The Galaxy "Missing Dark Matter" NGC 1052-DF4 is Undergoing Tidal Disruption

Montes, Mireia; Infante-Sainz, Raúl; Madrigal-Aguado, Alberto; Román, Javier; Monelli, Matteo; Borlaff, Alejandro S.; Trujillo, Ignacio
Bibliographical reference

The Astrophysical Journal

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The existence of long-lived galaxies lacking dark matter represents a challenge to our understanding of how galaxies form. Here, we present evidence that explains the lack of dark matter in one such galaxy: NGC 1052-DF4. Deep optical imaging of the system has detected tidal tails in this object caused by its interaction with its neighboring galaxy NGC 1035. As stars are more centrally concentrated than dark matter, tidal stripping will remove a significant percentage of dark matter before affecting the stars of the galaxy. Only $\sim 7 \% $ of the stellar mass of the galaxy is in the tidal tails, suggesting that the stars of NGC 1052-DF4 are only now starting to be affected by the interaction, while the percentage of remaining dark matter is $\lesssim 1 \% $ . This naturally explains the low content of dark matter inferred for this galaxy and reconciles these types of galaxies with our current models of galaxy formation.